Muggers terrify people. A lot of folks get hurt during muggings, after all, so it stands to reason. They may not be the worst fear people have, but few are actually comfortable with them.
These are people who use violence to rob people, after all. Why should anyone view them with anything other than contempt and scorn?
But sometimes, there’s a story about a mugger that really brightens my day.
A man who died when he tried to rob two men on a Staten Island street with a fake gun was out on parole for attempted robbery at the time.
Robert Compton, 33, pulled a phony handgun on two 33-year-old men near Pacific Ave. and St Albans Pl. in Eltingville as they walked home from a bar around 1:55 a.m. Sunday, police and sources said.
Compton allegedly approached the men and told them to “give me all your s—t,” sources said.
One of the would-be victims grabbed the fake gun and the men fought back, tussling with the mugger and restraining him.
One of the men got behind Compton, grabbed him around the neck and pulled him to the ground while the other called 911, sources said.
During the struggle, Compton fell unconscious.
Police performed CPR, but Compton died at the hospital.
Tragic…or, you know, not.
Now, had Compton had a real gun, it’s possible that this story might have gone very differently. However, that’s hypothetical. What we actually have before us is a career criminal who counted on fear to force compliance from his victims gets what he so richly deserves.
It seems at least one of the would-be victims had a background in martial arts, which likely helped him know how to choke someone out.
The thing is, as we know, chokeholds can be fatal, particularly if done just a bit imperfectly. That seems to be what happened here, but as it was a chokehold applied against an armed attacker, it’s still self-defense. That’s as it should be.
And really, I think if we saw more of these muggers using fake guns end up in a similar way, we’d stop seeing this kind of nonsense. I mean, play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Compton won the stupid prize, as he should have.
But he won’t be the only mugger out there using a fake weapon.
The idea that some of these folks have is that if it’s not a real gun, they don’t get charged as harshly. I’d think that Compton had enough time in the system to know better, but the term “jailhouse lawyer” exists for a reason.
Look, I’m not going to cry for Compton. Someone out there probably will, but I won’t. I’d have loved to see him turn his life around or something, but he didn’t and now he’s in the morgue. That’s what happens when you decide to pursue a life of crime because doing things right is just too difficult for you.
To the two men who took him down, I salute you both. While you may be dealing with some trauma from what happened, I hope you don’t dwell on it. It sounds like you performed a public service to me.